Seek­ing one more win

Venus Wil­liams makes ninth Wim­ble­don fi­nal, awaits Mugu­ruza

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - SPORTS - BY HOWARD FENDRICH

All these years later, Wim­ble­don still brings out the best in Venus Wil­liams.

With her lat­est dis­play of gutsy serv­ing and big hit­ting, Wil­liams beat Jo­hanna Konta 6-4, 6-2 on Thurs­day to reach her ninth ti­tle match at the All Eng­land Club and first since 2009.

At 37, Wil­liams is the old­est Wim­ble­don fi­nal­ist since Martina Navratilova was the 1994 run­ner-up at that age.

Wil­liams also stopped Konta’s bid to be­come the first woman from Bri­tain in 40 years to win the coun­try’s Grand Slam tour­na­ment.

“I couldn’t have asked for more, but I’ll ask for a lit­tle more. One more win would be amaz­ing,” Wil­liams said. “It won’t be a given, but I’m go­ing to give it my all.”

She will be seek­ing her sixth Wim­ble­don cham­pi­onship and eighth Grand Slam sin­gles tro­phy over­all. Her most re­cent came in 2008, when she de­feated her younger sis­ter, Ser­ena, for the ti­tle at the All Eng­land Club. A year later, she lost the fi­nal to Ser­ena.

“I couldn’t have asked for more, but I’ll ask for a lit­tle more. One more win would be amaz­ing. It won’t be a given, but I’m go­ing to give it my all.” Venus Wil­liams

In the time since, Wil­liams re­vealed that she was di­ag­nosed with Sjo­gren’s syn­drome, which can sap en­ergy and cause joint pain.

As time went on, there were ques­tions about whether she might re­tire, es­pe­cially after a half-dozen first-round losses at ma­jor tour­na­ments. But she kept on go­ing, and lately has re­turned to win­ning.

Her resur­gence be­gan in earnest at Wim­ble­don a year ago, when she made it to the semi­fi­nals. Then, at the Aus­tralian Open in Jan­uary, Wil­liams reached the fi­nal, where she lost to —yes, you guessed it — her sis­ter. Ser­ena is off the tour for the rest of this year be­cause she is preg­nant.

“I missed her so much be­fore this match. And I was like, ‘I just wish she was here.’ And I was like, ‘I wish she could do this for me,”’ Wil­liams said with a laugh.

“And I was like, ‘No, this time you have to do it for your­self.’ So here we are.”

On Satur­day, the 10th-seeded Amer­i­can will par­tic­i­pate in her sec­ond Grand Slam fi­nal of the sea­son, and 16th of her ca­reer, this time against 14th-seeded Gar­bine Mugu­ruza of Spain.

“She knows how to play, es­pe­cially Wim­ble­don fi­nals,” Mugu­ruza, the 2015 Wim­ble­don run­ner-up and 2016 French Open cham­pion, said about Wil­liams. “It’s go­ing to be, like, a his­toric fi­nal again.”

Mugu­ruza over­whelmed 87th-ranked Mag­dalena Ry­barikova of Slo­vakia 6-1, 6-1 in the ear­lier semi­fi­nal.

AP PHOTO

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